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Massage Today
November, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 11

The Rewards of "McSpa"

By Lucy Gonzales-Romero, NCTMB

I graduated from massage school on Feb. 28, 2001; the next day, I made an appointment with the local Ronald McDonald House™, which provides support for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals, to provide volunteer chair massage once a week.

I have always felt a strong need to give back to my community, and I knew before I graduated that I would offer my skills to a very special group - I could think of no better place!

Donna Cieslak, Jackie Leavens, Lucy Gonzales-Romero and Lisa Kessler. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark (l to r) Donna Cieslak, Jackie Leavens, Lucy Gonzales-Romero and Lisa Kessler enjoy the rewards of volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House™ in Augusta, Ga. It took awhile for my personal business to grow, but in the meantime, I was able to touch somebody every week (In the beginning, there were times when the only people I massaged were my husband and those folks at the Ronald McDonald House™!). For six months, I volunteered once each week, for two hours.

A few months later, Vera Geerts, a Belgium native and massage-school graduate, contacted me to join the project. Then it dawned on me: If four steady volunteers could each provide massage once a month, the House would have weekly coverage. I approached the local massage school and had great success in recruiting several volunteers.

For two-and-a-half years, Jackie Leavens, Gale Diebler, Stacy Breckel, Barbara Mershon, Donna Cieslak, Lisa Kessler, Vera and I have been volunteering. I feel lucky to have such qualified, dedicated and loyal therapists working on this project with me - I can depend on these ladies.

Through our joint efforts, we cover our shifts between 95 percent and 100 percent of the time. Vicki Blair-Adkins, director of the Augusta Ronald McDonald House™, is pleased, as well. "This is one benefit our guests look forward to each and every week. It really makes a difference," she said.

The guests at the House are special. We may think we have problems and stress in our lives, but when you meet somebody who has a baby that was born weighing 13 ounces and in need of heart surgery, it really puts life into perspective.


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